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The Balancing Act- What's Your Strategy?

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message 1: by B.D. (new)

B.D. Amon | 20 comments Hi everyone! :-)

I am interested to hear from other authors regarding how they balance writing with their other responsibilities. Having just started out on my writing adventure, I, of course, still have a day job and I am still finding my footing when it comes to balancing these two things. Throw in a beagle and friends/family/boyfriend I don't want to ignore and I find myself writing when I should be sleeping because that is the only time left. :-P

I would love to hear what methods have worked for you and what you've learned along the way! :-)

message 2: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Rankin (jmrankin) | 74 comments I do think it's one of those things that comes with practice! When I was single I would write at the weekends and sometimes after work if I felt up to it. Now I have to juggle a fiancé, planning a wedding, working from home, and an 18 month toddler it's not so simple!! But I get in an hour or so of writing in the afternoon when little'un naps (if I don't have housework/editing to contend with) and then write in the evenings once she's in bed. It's not easy and I don't get as much done as I would like, but writing is what I do and I couldn't imagine not cramming it in somewhere. Half an hour is better than nothing at all :)

message 3: by Emma (new)

Emma Jaye | 37 comments Easy. Train your family to accept shoddy housework and burnt dinners, all in the name of creativity.

Still working on this one.

Family don't think its quite such a good idea, but I will triumph Bwha ha ha!

message 4: by J.M. (new)

J.M. Rankin (jmrankin) | 74 comments Damn, why didn't I try that one?! :)

message 5: by Alan (new)

Alan (coachmt) | 7 comments Balance? What's that? ;-)

message 6: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Pinard (cjpinard) I have three kids (two at home - school age), work a fulltime job, and a husband who works shiftwork. I do parttime e-book editing AND I write. I get this question a lot - how do you do it? I don't watch TV anymore and sleep isn't an 8-hour a night gig anymore! I write after the kids are in bed, and editing gets done here and there. You wouldn't believe how much of a time-sucker TV is until you stop watching. That being said, I do have like two shows I keep up with, but that is for the weekends, usually! :)

message 7: by B.D. (new)

B.D. Amon | 20 comments @ J.M.- Oh my gosh, I don't think I would survive! Bravo, I am super impressed! I agree that you take what you can get, even if it is just a half an hour :-)

@E.- Hahahahaha! That is assuming I don't hand off a burnt dinner and shoddy housework any other day of the week (which I totally do!)! Domesticity is not my strongest point... *shrugs and keeps writing* :-P

@Alan- Glad I'm not the only one! :-)

@ C.J.- You have a mighty impressive mound on your plate too! I agree with you about the TV, I don't watch it. Occasionally we will do a movie but I just can't fathom giving up my precious free time to a time suck like television. While I am sitting there watching it I am usually thinking about all the other things I could be doing instead :-P

message 8: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Pinard (cjpinard) Me too, Brooke!

You sound as crazy busy as me, Aoife :)

message 9: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1194 comments Mod
Once you get time management going- the rest is easier. If you jettison junk parts of your day, you would be surprised at how much time you really have. I rely on things like Peapod- so I don't have to food shop. They even have coupons. I have always worked this way, even before I started writing. I built a very successful business with my husband. It was a 24 hour dispatch business- and I was the dispatcher, biller and receptionist until we replaced me with a lot of people. Now that I am writing, I go to bed early. I found pulling all nighters not only made me crabby, but I couldn't function during the day. I wake up at four AM and that's when I write. You mind is so very alert in the early am. I write until 7AM then go to my full time job. Although, our kids have moved to their own homes, it still feels like a have a full house- they keep coming back to eat. I can go back to writing the the late afternoon and early evening. The point is- you have to make sure you get enough sleep.

message 10: by Frog (new)

Frog Jones | 26 comments I'm a full-time practicing attorney, part-time freelance writer, part-time professional book reviewer, and (of course) a full-time author.

I balance this all by being insane. I find that this actually helps improve my writing.

message 11: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1194 comments Mod
Insanity comes with the territory!

message 12: by L.Z. (new)

L.Z. Marie | 15 comments I also have a full-time job ( a teacher so I have summers off), house, 4 kiddos etc. And just like the others, I too, do not watch TV/movies/yak on phone etc.
Hubby and kiddos now forage for their own food.
Household duties are accomplished when I need to stretch my legs.
This summer I will write from morning until the wee hours of the night.
During school days, I begin blogging/networking/writing the moment I arrive home until bedtime.
Thank God, Hubby prefers an obsessive and determined wife (he gets more golf in that way) and the kiddos drive.
I'm happiest when I'm writing--and you know the saying--if Mommy's happy, everybody is happy!

message 13: by L.Z. (new)

L.Z. Marie | 15 comments Brooke wrote: "Hi everyone! :-)

I am interested to hear from other authors regarding how they balance writing with their other responsibilities. Having just started out on my writing adventure, I, of course, st..."

Hopefully, your boyfriend encourages and loves that part about you that MUST write. My Hubby is more than understanding, he's supportive and helpful ( even makes Starbucks runs). Take if from a gal who's been married 3x's, find a guy who adores your passion for writing! It will make your life less stressful!! (OK--now I'm sounding a bit mom-ish) :)

message 14: by L.Z. (new)

L.Z. Marie | 15 comments So rewarding to read that I am not the only insane one out there!

message 15: by J.M. (last edited Jun 05, 2013 11:58AM) (new)

J.M. Rankin (jmrankin) | 74 comments L.Z wrote: Hopefully, your boyfriend encourages and loves that part about you that MUST write. My Hubby is more than understanding, he's supportive and helpful ( even makes Starbucks runs). Take if from a gal who's been married 3x's, find a guy who adores your passion for writing! It will make your life less stressful!!

Completely agree! Past partners almost resented the time my writing took (even if they were just glued to the footie on TV!) but now my other half completely understands and supports me, taking charge of bubs if I want an hour or so to myself to write/edit/whatever. A good support network of family and friends is an enormous help.

Plus I really am sure insanity goes with the job!

message 16: by C.J. (new)

C.J. Pinard (cjpinard) It sounds like we're all insane :) I'm glad my family is understanding too. Even if they weren't, they'd get over it once I save up enough money from writing and editing to pay for a trip to

message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather Heffner | 89 comments Haha, I second the insanity part. I'll often feel so awkward when friends will show up at our small place. I really want to relax and hang out, but at the same time--it's my small window of writing time! So I'll write/drop in from time to time, and leave my boyfriend to do the hosting. Two internships, a part-time job, writing/book promotion, blogging, and counting! However, our only "child" right now is a cat, so that part's pretty easy.

message 18: by B.D. (last edited Jun 05, 2013 08:27PM) (new)

B.D. Amon | 20 comments Good to know insanity is a must-have skill for writing, I am pretty sure I've got that covered! :-P

@Frog: Holy cow! How do you manage practicing law, writing, blogging, and reviewing?! I have a friend who is a lawyer (first year at the firm) and his hours are insane. I am told it gets better with time but, wow.

@J.M.and Liz: I have a really good support system, I think at this point I am just my own worst enemy. I feel guilty for not doing it all (silly, I know). I think once I am able to let that go it might get easier.

@C.J.: I am a fellow Disney park lover too! I grew up going to Disneyland and now my best friend and I go every year...although now that they just raised the prices again I might be priced right out of the park! :-(

@Heather: I know that feeling- part of me enjoys their company while the other part of me is counting down the seconds until they leave and I can get back to writing! :-P

message 19: by Frog (new)

Frog Jones | 26 comments It does not get better. It gets worse. And see above re: me going insane.

message 20: by Frog (new)

Frog Jones | 26 comments Mick wrote: "My wife`s left me and my daughter has been taken into care. My dog`s bloated to the size of a sperm whale because I cannot be bothered to take the fat lump out for a walk. Bailiffs have been knocki..."

Yeah. I lol'd.

message 21: by L.L. (new)

L.L. Watkin (LLWatkin) | 41 comments I find it releases the pressure to avoid the "deadline" word and call them "targets" instead. Because actually, I always manage to find more time for writing than I thought I would at the beginning of the week, made up of odd bits here and there, and as long as I don't put myself under pressure to reach an ambitious word count, I seem to tick over okay.

message 22: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline Rhoades (jackierhoades) | 33 comments Not one of you will feel sorry for me (I don't blame you), but my problem isn't finding time. I was finally selling enough to able to quit my pay-the-bills job to write full time. Unfortunately, friends and relatives now think I'm either wealthy (Don't I wish) and don't have to 'work' or I'm retired (Because apparently writing 8 hours a day isn't work)so why not stop by and visit or call or bring lunch.
It's really getting to me. These same people wouldn't dream of stopping by 'the office' to interrupt your day and wouldn't think of calling a loved one at work unless it was an emergency. But me? Should I make lasagna or spaghetti tonight? Obviously what I do isn't work.
Sometimes I think I got more done when I worked elsewhere for 8 hours a day!

message 23: by B.D. (last edited Jun 12, 2013 04:38PM) (new)

B.D. Amon | 20 comments @Mick: Hahahahahaha! Perfectly said :-)

@L.L.: That is a good point, the words we use can really change how we perceive a task. Maybe I will try that and see if I notice any difference. :-)

@Jacqueline: I can see how that would be an issue. I know a few people who work from home and have that same issue. It is as if friends/family aren't able to understand that your home is also your office. Maybe you can turn off the phone and hang a sign on the door that says "out to work, back at 5pm" :-P

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Mick--you are cracking me up! And don't feel bad, I've only made like $5 from Amazon, so you're like a best-seller! lolol

Jacqueline--I know exactly what you are saying. I'm blessed to be able to stay at home--not that it isn't a job in itself, mind you, being CEO, COO, and CFO of your household. However, I should have more than plenty of time to write. But it is true, others are supportive and interested in my writing (I've always written, but am new to the jumping in and publishing it part) but no one understands that it is my "job" now. They all must think it's a cute sort of hobby.

Ok, whining time is over!!! Haha! I do think balance is different for everyone. The important thing is to write as much as YOU can, and allow that to be sufficient. I need to start being more like Aoife--that gal is AMAZING! Best of luck to all of you guys!

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha, Mick! Sounds like I REALLY need to follow your advice, buddy! Pfft...Aoife! And I thought you were so cool! hahaha :D

message 26: by Sola (new)

Sola Odemuyiwa (odemuyiwa) | 11 comments I wake up earlier say 5am to write before work and go to bed later if not too tire. I gave up other hobbies. I spend less time on my bike or in the garden and don't join time-wasting committees at work.

message 27: by Holly (new)

Holly Dae (hollydae) | 38 comments My time is usually consumed with school, work, and my family. I'm the oldest of six so they depend on me a lot to help the house run and function. Lately I've found myself taking a Monday and Wednesday afternoon to sit in the library after school and just write before coming home to the chaos of my family and other responsibilities.

I don't usually get to bed until really late so waking up in the morning is not an option for me anymore.

message 28: by S. (new)

S. Nileson | 21 comments The balancing became easy once I stopped some useless habits such as watching TV. I also set a a daily goal to write at least 1k words, which sounds easier than its done.

message 29: by Cherry (new)

Cherry (cheanne) its very simple on how you can balance your time.. just divided your day with your work, family and other stuff... i am a student and ive got a whole day schedule... but i always balancing my time at school,my family, hangouts with my best friend and friends, household chores, studying, church and etc... you should always put your schedule with your notes so you will be able to balance your time with other stuff... if it is canceled, do the other stuff much earlier..

message 30: by S. (new)

S. Nileson | 21 comments Cherry wrote: "its very simple on how you can balance your time.. just divided your day with your work, family and other stuff... i am a student and ive got a whole day schedule... but i always balancing my time ..."

Some people just can't abide by a schedule.

message 31: by Cherry (new)

Cherry (cheanne) Tarek wrote: "Cherry wrote: "its very simple on how you can balance your time.. just divided your day with your work, family and other stuff... i am a student and ive got a whole day schedule... but i always bal..."

i know Tarek but that is my strategy and it works with me.... if you dont know how to balance your time,, you will not do everything you want....

message 32: by B.D. (new)

B.D. Amon | 20 comments Aoife wrote: I so gave you your pencil sharpener back Mick. I made like 3 dollars selling a kindle and was able to purchase my OWN. So stop spreading rumours. IYF"


message 33: by Tina (new)

Tina Pisco (goodreadscomtina_pisco) | 6 comments Love the comments in this section....I wish I had a group like this ten years ago when I was juggling four kids, a big country house, writing full-time and trying to make ends meet!
I still live n the big country house ( in West Cork, Ireland)though the child rearing is done ( Hallelujah!)and the struggle is not as fierce. I do get a lot more done these days with considerable less stress, but I still find it difficult to juggle the writing/promoting/gardening/house cleaning....Then again, I can decide that it's best I go work outside, or at the beach-even if the most productive thing I do is have a nap!

message 34: by C.J. (last edited Jun 18, 2013 09:57AM) (new)

C.J. Pinard (cjpinard) Tina, my great-grandparents were from Cork :) (I'm American!)

I think we should all abide by the saying, "Whatever works!" We are all authors here so obviously something is working. I love being busy and to the poor lady whose family keeps stopping by - set some boundaries, girlfriend. I like the idea of hanging a sign on the door that you're out until 5 pm - LOL! :)

message 35: by F.F. (new)

F.F. McCulligan | 26 comments I like to write away from home, I also like to write more than almost any other activity. Phone off, pipe lit, let's get medieval with it.

Also, I struggle to balance how much marketing/networking/promoting to do with how much writing I do. To me that just takes discipline though. Turn off the internet for a while and do a chunk of writing, and squeeze the internet marketing stuff in when it fits.

message 36: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 38 comments I'm fortunate because I'm a self-employed medical editor, so when the editing flows I edit, and when it ebbs I write. And after that, I write. :)

message 37: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Payeur | 22 comments I live in a house with a nearly-invalid father, a workaholic mother, my brother, and his three kids. We all work at the same company that my parents started. I'm in the car every day traveling around the Midwest, so I keep notebooks and pens handy in the car. When I get a rare true day off, I type up what I've written in the car.

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Like many I too am a working mom, wife, domestic goddess, gourmet chef, chauffer, nurse, nanny and all the rest that comes with families. I blog, host blog tours for other authors, update 10 000 different social networks daily and then read reviews and work on my books. My secret...I never sleep and drink copious amounts of Coca Cola. Don't try this at home kids!!

message 39: by chucklesthescot (new)

chucklesthescot Brooke wrote: "Hi everyone! :-)

I am interested to hear from other authors regarding how they balance writing with their other responsibilities. Having just started out on my writing adventure, I, of course, st..."

I know this is totally off thread but your beagle is gorgeous!

message 40: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Peters (andrewjpeters) Thanks Brooke for this thread. It gave me a dose of affirmation!

I have a pretty demanding full-time job, a husband and no kids, so I think I have it better than most. What I struggle with the most these days is what F.F. said: how to market and how to write in the few hours each day I have. My job does give me a decent amount of time off, so this week I am blissfully on a stay-at-home writing vacation.

Mobile phones help some since you can market/promote while traveling back and forth to work and on breaks (as I write this, I was just interrupted by a mobile call from my husband!). So scratch that.

Best of luck to everyone. :)

message 41: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Luhrs (cynthialuhrsauthor) Lots of good suggestions here. What works for me? I pick 1 show to watch a season and that's it - no other TV. I also got a fold out full size keyboard and I keep it in my purse. When I find myself in line or waiting somewhere, I pull out my phone and keyboard and manage to get a few hundred words in.

message 42: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Luhrs (cynthialuhrsauthor) Aww Mick, you make me blush. I give NaNoWriMo credit for helping silence the internal critic. After completing it, I'm averaging 2,500 words a day and this year going to take the challenge again and hopefully (fingers crossed) up my word count again.

message 43: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 266 comments I have a day job and they get annoyed if I am writing instead of working.

I write in the evenings and at weekends. If I am tired then sometimes there is no point but I do try and do something even if it is a blog post, looking for useful links or poking about on facebook or GR.

My BF likes to play on the PC (which is just as well as I get home, write etc and then go to bed and I don't tend to go out much.

message 44: by Meri (new)

Meri Elena | 36 comments I bring a notebook to school with me, so while I'm sitting there listening to a lecture, I'll pull it out and write. I even convinced my English teacher to let me work through his whole class sometimes. I don't know if people with actual jobs could benefit from the same sort of strategy. I also write on my phone if I'm riding in a car or waiting in line or something.

message 45: by Sam (new)

Sam Austin (samaustin) | 7 comments I schedule, schedule, schedule, which is difficult with work hours changing, people coming and going. My schedules get messed up a lot - which doesn't make me happy.

I read instead of watch television. I don't play games. I also use my large phone as a little computer, writing a few words when I have time. I set daily, monthly and yearly goals.

It's still a work in progress, but with each publication I get a little closer to my goal of writing full time.

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